I had a good ticket for tonight’s game. The weather was perfect. The Cardinals were in town. The Reds are playing about as well as can be expected right now. They had a chance to win the series.

I didn’t go because Alfredo Simon was pitching for the Reds.

And just like last night, the bullpen battle was a gigantic mismatch. The only difference was no Joey Votto ninth inning heroics to save the situation.

Cincinnati 7 • St. Louis 12  |  FanGraphs  | Colonel Walter E. Kurtz on tonight 

Worst Thing Ever It’s June 8. His ERA is 9.11. He is 35 years old. Yet, the Reds are still giving Alfredo Simon the ball every fifth day. How can the organization pretend they care about anything this season while allowing that to take place? It simply can’t be the case there is no better alternative. Because any other pitcher would be a better alternative. No matter what positive things happen during the last four months of the Reds season, the grotesque persistence of Simon on the Reds roster will be a shameful blot.

The Bats Are Hot It’s fun to see Joey Votto and Jay Bruce hot at the same time. That’s kinda the way this was supposed to work. Votto and Bruce as the two tent poles while the other bats help out. Zack Cozart had two hits, including his 9th home run. Vote Zack. Tucker Barnhart had three hits including a home run. Billy Hamilton had two hits (his OBP has crept up to .308). But Hamilton committed a terrible base running mistake in the fifth inning, seconds before Barnhart’s homer.

Suarez Ks Eugenio Suarez struck out four times tonight. It was the second time on this home stand that’s happened.

Bullpen Artists Josh Smith and J.C. Ramirez combined to give up six runs in two innings.

The goat is not impressed with the Reds pitching tonight.


40 Responses

  1. Gaffer

    The tag line of this article could have been the same for half of the games this year. I think people are so caught up in the need for improved Reds offense (and lack of future prospects) they miss the act that in 3 years this pitching staff has gone from top 5 to bottom 5 of all time!

  2. jessecuster44

    9.11 ERA. Fitting. release his sorry butt.

    If this bullpen was league average, the Reds would be at .500.

    I bought a game-used Reds jersey the other day. Nameplate on the back? Milton. Could not resist.

  3. kmartin

    Having Votto, Bruce and Duvall all hot makes me miss Mesoraco all the more. Some permuation of Votto, Bruce, Duvall and Mesoraco would make for a nice heart of the lineup.

    • VaRedsFan

      I’m afraid the Mesoraco train left the station 2 years ago.

  4. Chad Dotson

    Agree with everything you say about Simon. But: “How can the organization pretend they care about anything this season while allowing that to take place?”

    I’m not sure this organization has pretended they care about anything this season.

      • Redsfan48

        Price hinted after the game that Reed and/or Stephenson could be coming up, which would imply Simon has reached his final chance in the rotation. Would not be surprised to see him get a shot in the bullpen though, and perhaps it could work out, but if so he should be given an extremely short leash before being DFA’ed.

      • ohiojimw

        I agree with both Chad and you. The time for Simon to go is long past, However, like you, I tend to believe his ultimate exit will be via the bullpen,

        Reed went 7 innings tonight in a more workmanlike than outstanding performance, Off the top of my head without rechecking, 7IP/10H/ 3R/3ER 1BB/6K 106P/74S (OK, truth be told, I did check the pitch count). Most concerning perhaps, 2HR. Louisville won 5-3.

        Stephenson got pulled after 6IP for a PH in scoreless tie a couple of nights ago; but, the previous turn he had also been stretched a little longer on innings and pitch count.

  5. ohiojimw

    I guess I jinxed Smith. I was sitting in front of the TV thinking that he actually had put together a nice 1,2 innings; and, about all that stood between him and good outing was allowing a..(as it starts to happen) Yep, a HR. Oh well.

    Then in the 8 the 8th, I actually felt some empathy for Ramirez as he was getting pounded. It seemed like there was something in his language that indicated he figured he was in process of punching his ticket back to the minors. But hey this is the Reds bullpen in 2016, Maybe he gets to stick around until Iggy or Lorenzen actually are ready to pitch for the Reds….

      • ohiojimw

        A former work colleague who I hadn’t heard from for a year or more called several weeks back to ask me if I remembered when I used to call Danny Graves, Gasoline Graves. I said yeah, He said well that whole [email protected][email protected]!$*** bullpen this year is at least twice the octane as he was.

      • Michael E

        The pitching is looking good. I don’t know what you’re talking about. Just need to jiggle the handle and BOOM, we’re a contender.

      • Michael E


        Rocket Fueled Tossing Relief Corp?

      • Michael E

        As for Simon, cut him and then send a scout to the independent league. Sign the best pitcher they got or even the first one scout sees (to save money on scouts time). Toss him into the rotation on his/her/its regular schedule. IMPROVEMENT!

      • pinson343

        +1. Long ago I regularly watched the 1962 Mets, as that was the only NL baseball I could watch on tv. They lost 120 games. Their bullpen was as bad as the rest of their team. If I’ve ever seen as bad a bullpen, it was theirs. But it’s a close call.

      • tourniquette15

        Don’t post here often, but that Out Cold reference was pretty on point lol

  6. Redsfan48

    Was I the only one that was a bit confused on who was in the game in the 8th and 9th innings? Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe the broadcasters said Waldrop entered the game in LF (for Duvall), and then in the bottom of the 9th, I also believe they announced Jay Bruce as the batter, even though Waldrop had actually replaced Bruce. If I heard correctly, even the PA announcer announced Jay Bruce as the batter initially.

    • Gaffer

      Sounds like the entire organization is in shambles, beyond the players.

  7. Chuck_in_VA

    I’ve been following you guys for over a year now, thanks to the advice of KMartin, my high school classmate. But this is my very first post here.

    When I saw that Simon was pitching again, I began wondering what it would take for management to cut him loose. Hand the ball over to someone in Louisville or Pensacola. Give them the perspective of ML pitching. For goodness sakes, we’ve already brought up plenty of minor leaguers not ready for the big stage who are still outshining Simon.

    I admire the collected wisdom of this group. It would be sweet if management paid any attention to us. Even just once.

    • greenmtred

      They might not pay attention to us because we sound so positive after a win (see yesterday’s comments) and so wrist-cuttingly morose after a loss. I’m not the first to suggest that the Reds almost certainly are not pulling out the stops to win this year because they couldn’t win anyway and because to do so would interfere with the rebuild. I wait with trepidation for the scornful comments about the rebuild.

  8. Chuck Schick

    The Reds have the 3rd worst record in MLB….some of that is Simon’s fault. Most of that isn’t.

    Every inning he pitches is 1 inning of saved service-super 2 time for someone with potential long term value. Had Robert Stephenson made everyone of Simon’s start this year, they still likely have the 3rd worst record in baseball…and they would’ve used up valuable service time in a wasted year.

    • pinson343

      Good point. Simon will be out of the rotation soon, but who’s going to replace him at the moment ? Moscot was terrible when he came back. Keyvius Sampson couldn’t get 3 outs pitching in relief. Josh Smith ? Ugh.

      Daniel Wright hasn’t pitched well with the Reds either but why have him on the 25 man roster if you’re not going to pitch him ? Out of this list, I’d give him the shot to replace Simon. He’s the “long man”. Price is very particular about his use of the long man. Remember Straily starting the season as the long man ? Tim Melville was selected to start over him.

      Just rambling. The Reds get a chance to draft a good player or two tomorrow !

  9. pinson343

    The Reds were 13-27 off of Garcia, with 3 doubles and 2 HRs. That’s a pounding.
    Yet had no chance. That’s just crazy.

    As terrible as Simon was – 7 hits and 6 runs in 5 innings – Smith and Ramirez allowed 7 hits and 6 runs in 2 innings. That’s beyond terrible.

  10. wizeman

    Was looking forward to watching the loathed Cardinals. Team had been playing better. Had been extremely busy… thought for some reason Strally was pitching. Sat down and Simon is on mound.Watched three batters. Walk, Walk, Homer.
    Left. It’s time for Stephenson and Reed.

  11. jessecuster44

    Reds have scored 6 Runs or more in every game in June, and have a 5-2 record. Who needs pitching when the bats go like this, am I right?

    • greenmtred

      See comments above. See Reds of the Dunn era.

  12. Shchi Cossack

    Repeatability and Sustainability…oh those wretched, elusive traits.

    The Reds offense has been churning lately and continues to be led by the big three (Bruce, Duvall & Cozart) since the season began. After returning from his hiatus to oblivion, Votto is now applying for his expected membership into the group.

    The Reds now have 2 players in the top 15 league OPS (Bruce/.920 & Duvall/.911), 2 players in the top 30 (Cozart/.864) and 4 players in the top 45 (Votto/.794). With Hamilton easing his OPS over the .700 threshold to .701, the Reds now have 7 starters with an OPS>.700 (Barnhart (.685).

    Cozart and Bruce are making a very strong case for a solid return in any trade this season or a contract extention past the 2017 season. Cozart’s defense has been a pleasant surprise and exceptional all season after his severe knee injury last season and certainly looks to be getting even better as the season progresses.

    Hamilton and Cozart are the undisputed defensive leaders on a mediocre defensive team.

    Last night, the Reds were absoluitely mashing the ball with the good offensive results significantly muted by some bad luck. I lost count of how many scaulding line drives left the Reds bats with the bases loaded, only to find leather rather than grass. That’s the way the baseball bounces sometimes.

    • ohiojimw

      “That’s the way the baseball bounces sometimes”.

      Or maybe the Cards have very, very good data to set their positioning on and at least one pitcher who can throw to the spots required to make it all work??? Very likely a combination their intelligence and Reds misfortune.

    • WVRedlegs

      You had to be pleased with Selsky’s first ML hit last night. He smoked that one over the CF’s head. I wonder what the exit velocity was on that? Speaking of exit velocity, can anyone provide that for both of Brendon Moss’s 2 HR’s last night? Those two might have been the two hardest hit balls in GABP this season.

  13. cfd3000

    Even though the Rockies put up two touchdowns and a field goal last week that was possibly the worst pitched game I’ve seen all year. Earl Weaver was cheering somewhere when Simon started the game with two walks and the inevitable blast, and it actually got worse. Nice to see the offense rolling (except Suarez) but can it be time for Simon to go please? And I’m hoping someone told BHam that he doesn’t need to steal bases the Toddfather way, by surprise, he can just wait and steal them the old fashioned way because speed. I don’t think we’ll ever see that mistake again. He’s hitting over .400 the last week, over .300 the last month, and flat getting it done in centerfield. I like his progress. Series win tonight? Go Reds!

  14. Carl Sayre

    I have read all of the comments in addition to the article. I think everyone has missed the point on how bad the FO is. The reason Simon is still getting the ball every 5th day is because the team is already pursuing the number 1 pick next year. The sad statement about that is they are so inept they can’t get that accomplished. There are 2 teams in front of them for the number one pick.

  15. Shchi Cossack

    Hamilton’s TOOTBLAN last night was nothing short of irresponsible, selfish showboating. From the Old Cossack’s perspective, Price should have pulled Hamilton from the game and planted his butt on the bench as soon as Hamilton returned to the dugout and kept his butt on the bench for the rest of the series games against the Birds and weekend games against the A’s. One run in that situation was not going to be a deciding factor in a game where both starters were completely ineffective and the Reds bullpen prospects were underwhelming against the Birds bullpen.

    The Reds had Garcia on the ropes and Hamilton was on 2B with 1 out. If Hamilton wanted to get to 3B, he has proven the ability to steal at will and with Hamilton standing on 2B, he has also proven to be an immesely disruptive force. There was no reason for Hamilton to even attempt such a risky move. That might be justified for a runner with marginal prospects for getting to 3B with just 1 out (i.e. Phillips, Cozart, Bruce, Duvall, etc.) as a ‘sneak’ attack, trying to catch the pitcher with his proverbial pants down, but completely unjustified and unnecessary by Hamilton, especially with Simon coming out of the game for a pinch hitter just 2 batters later.

    Of course Hamilton’s brain cramp (or ego cramp) became magnified when Barnhart and Selsky, predictably followed with monster smashes for a HR to left field and a double over the CF head, respectively, immediately following Hamilton’s fiasco.

    Having fun and enjoying the game doesn’t have to and shouldn’t come at the expense of the team and that’s a lesson any player with 7+ years of professional experience should still have to learn.

  16. james garrett

    No reason at all that Simon is still starting games for this team.It serves no purpose at all since we have a bunch of others that could take that start who maybe part of the future of which he is not.We were the only team willing to sign him and now all can see why nobody else did.Another guy we used to have that didn’t pan out this time around.Time to move on.

  17. Shchi Cossack

    One piece of bookkeeping from the Dan Straily post and discussion (which I thoroughly enjoyed)…

    In December 2014, the Reds fleeced the Fish and the Tigers (and their respective professional baseball organizations) in the Latos and Simon trades. While the front offices and baseball operations departments around baseball are moving into more modern baseball philosophies and approaches to the game, there are still a few organizations out there that still resist that step into the future. Assuming that an opportunity to move Straily for a positive return, just because such opportunities are diminishing, should not be completely ignored. Stubbornness and rigidity at the highest levels of management is not restricted to just the Reds organization.

    There are already teams out there looking for starting pitching help prior to the trade deadline. Straily might be an attractive aquisition for someone in that regard. If the Reds can translate an outlier 2-3 months of 3.34 ERA over 13 games in 2016 and 4 years of team control into another positive trade opportunity for a pitcher with a career 4.34 ERA and 4.65 FIP (and a 2016 FIP of 4.43), the Reds need to grasp the iron while it’s hot.

    As always, that situation must be balanced by whatever value Straily might provide for the Reds going forward, but I don’t believe Straily will have a positive production impact going forward once the pitching core shakes out.

    • ohiojimw

      The “best of the rest” may end up in the #5 and perhaps even #4 rotation slots as innings eaters to allow the Reds to turn pitching talent into position players who are MLB ready NLT 2018. That could land Straily in the Reds rotation; or alternately he could be part of one of those deals headlined by somebody else.